Tampa Bay Rays end an era with Evan Longoria trade

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - OCTOBER 1: Evan Longoria /

The Tampa bay Rays have turned another page in their history with their trade of Evan Longoria to the San Francisco Giants.

Over the past decade, quite a few players have come and go from the Tampa Bay Rays. Stars like David Price, James Shields, and Ben Zobrist helped turn the team into a contender, only to be traded when their salaries became cumbersome. Occasionally, players would be signed to a long term extension, only to be traded once that salary reaches a certain level.

Through it all, Evan Longoria remained. The last remaining link to the 2008 World Series team, Longoria had become an institution in Tampa Bay. He was the cornerstone, the face of the franchise, the one that remained. And then, on Wednesday, that changed, as even the great Longoria was sent away.

From a purely financial standpoint, one can understand the Rays motivation. Longoria was due another $81 Million over the next five seasons, a substantial sum for a team with the payroll limitations that the Rays have. Likewise, with Longoria coming off of a down year, and with his 10-5 rights set to happen three days into the 2018 season, the Rays had to trade him now.

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One can hardly argue the Rays return. They acquired the San Francisco Giants top prospect in Christian Arroyo, and projectable arms in Matt Krook and Stephen Woods. Denard Span was thrown in as a salary dump, and the Rays sent cash over to San Francisco. For the Giants, they acquired a piece that they desperately needed, bringing some stability to a spot in the lineup that was filled by the bloated corpse of Pablo Sandoval‘s career at times during the 2017 campaign.

However, the trade goes beyond baseball implications. It is the end of an era in Tampa Bay, a time to bid farewell to the face of the franchise. The greatest player that the Rays had seen will now be suiting up over 3000 miles away.

It is a move that needed to happen. The Rays were financially hamstrung with that large of a percentage of their payroll invested in one player. This also gives Tampa Bay a chance to further their youth movement, adding another piece that could be ready for the majors at some time during the 2018 season.

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Sometimes, the right moves are not the easiest ones to make. That was the case on Wednesday, as the Tampa Bay Rays made the decision to trade away the face of their franchise in Evan Longoria.